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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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and I do not think it can be refuted, that not one of us Socialist Members
of Parliament in this Chamberónot even my right hon. Friend the Member
for East Edinburgh (Mr, Pethick-Lawrence) who has had some experience
of prison, which most of us have notóis fit to hold a candle to such men as
Mr. Arciszewski, Mr. Kwapinski, Dr. Prager and the others. It is alleged
that they are undemocratic, and they are said to be committed to the un-
democratic constitution of 1935. I would point out to my hon. Friends on
these benches that two of the Socialist Ministers were put in prison for their
stand against the Pilsudski regime and General Kukiel was dismissed from
his post for his opposition to it. There is not the slightest reason, therefore,,
to doubt that this Polish Government is a really diplomatic Government in
the sense in which we understand the word, and that it has given the most
practical proofs of its democratic faith.
" I said that I would deal with the suggestion of the hon. Lady the Member
for the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone) that there might
be some compromise between this Government and the Lublin Committee.
I understand that certain proposals of that nature have been made, but they
remind me very much of the rabbit pie which was 50 per cent, rabbit and
50 per cent, horse, that is to say, one rabbit, one horse. The proposal, as
I understand it, would give such a preponderance to the Lublin Committee
that it would, in fact, simply be the Lublin Committee . . . The most im-
portant thing I wish to say is this. The Polish problem is almost insuperably
difficult... It may very well be that no satisfactory solution can be achieved,
but may I ask for one thing ? It is, that they should not urge upon the Polish
Government a solution which does not command itself to their consciences
on its merits . . . The wicked thing to my mind was that we tried to compel
the Czech Government to accept a solution which we knew was immoral,
and that is the danger I see in this present situation, that His Majesty's
Government should try to urge upon the Polish Government something
which they know to be wrong ... If His Majesty's Government cannot
secure a settlement, then let us not urge anything else upon the Poles. Let
us, as the United States appears to be doing, refrain from making any
recommendations which we cannot commend to our own consciences.
" We are bound deeply in this matter by our interests and by our honour.
I say c Our interests ' not only in any narrow sense, for I do not suppose that
British citizens have any considerable material interests in Poland. Our
interests are of a different order. The greatest of all, order throughout the
world, and the Polish problem is the most serious threat to that order we
have yet faced. If we cannot solve it justly and generously, the outlook for
the future is indeed dark. We are bound also in honour by engagement
we have signed."
Lieut.-Colonei Sir Walter Smiles (Conservative) : " I can only speak
on this matter as an average Britisher, but at the same time I should like
later to speak as I think the average Pole is thinking. I have no particular
knowledge of Poland, having been there only two or three times, and all
my sympathies are on the side of Russia, because of the many kindnesses
which I have received from Russian people. . . . but at the present moment
what has happened in Poland ? What is the average British person thinking ?
He thinks that Poland has been murdered, thinks it has been murdered
largely by the Germans, and also that many Poles have been murdered by
the Russians. He thinks^ rightly or wrongly, that a million Poles have been
deported to Siberia and elsewhere; and those who have been sent to Siberia
will be very fortunate if half of them ever see their homes or their relations
again . . .
" I want us to keep our feet upon the ground; not to think of the world as